The White Wall: Are A Hundred Playing You? Or Just One?

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by Madelyn Sundquist, Staff Writer

Xiang Jing, (Chinese, b. 1968), "Are a Hundred Playing You? Or Only One?", 2007, fiberglass, acrylic paint, wood, 55 1/8 x 94 1/2 x 94 1/2 in. Photo courtesy of the artist. Chazen Museum of Art
Xiang Jing, (Chinese, b. 1968), “Are a Hundred Playing You? Or Only One?”, 2007, fiberglass, acrylic paint, wood, 55 1/8 x 94 1/2 x 94 1/2 in.
Photo courtesy of the artist. Chazen Museum of Art

This past spring, the Chazen Museum of Art held an exhibition displaying a gorgeous selection of works from contemporary Chinese artists. If you missed the temporary exhibition, you can still view the work of Xiang Jing at the Chazen. It recently added her piece, Are A Hundred Playing You? Or Just One?, to its permanent collection. Xiang Jing, a sculptor based out of Beijing, gained international success with her sculptural female figures, presenting human uncertainty and vulnerability in her work.

This piece presents several painted fiberglass women seated in a circle. Each has their feet in a communal shallow washbasin. A body clings to its neighbor; another appears aged and grey; yet another slouches back exhausted on her stool. A fiberglass pelican observes the women peering into the basin from a few feet away. Looking closely at the bodily structures, the viewer enjoys human detail through the various postures and rendering of the figures’ acrylic skin. Simultaneously, the setting and facial features of the women provide a surreal and emotional experience.

The figures created by Xiang Jing struck me in their honest representations of anxiety and insecurity—bodily and otherwise. Her individual and unidealized renderings of women both project vulnerability and provoke it from the viewer. Xiang Jing displays her technical prowess while communicating basic humanity in this piece, now on display in the permanent collection of the Chazen Museum of Art.

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